I was inspired to write thePart 1 on patter because of an incident here in the shop, but I was carried away and did not want to make it too lengthy.
Someone came in and bought a Cardtoon Deck. One of my favorites. The effect is easy, but the instructions, for some reason, are complicated. A few years back a real pro from out of town bought it and called me the next day and said,”When you did it, it was so simple and here I am working on it for 2 hours and I still can’t do it like you did! In two minutes I explained it to him over the phone and he said “That’s all there is to it?” That was it. He was miffed because they made it so complicated. Because of that I now always show the person how the trick is done so they don’t have to struggle. The last thing I want is for some one to put down a trick in frustration and never pick it up again. We want you to succeed.
Which brings me to the incident. After he bought a few tricks I told him I would explain one to him, Cardtoon. I explained it, he understood it. Then he said, Let me try. As a rule I would say no, you practice it at home, but for some reason, I said okay. He did it, using the patter I used, but not WHERE I used it. I take out the selected card and put “it” face up at the bottom of the deck, saying “I’ll put your card here”, (as I do that )”because it sometimes happens that the person forgets the card they chose.” By this time the card is already face up at the bottom of the deck. When the guy did it, he took out “the card” and said the whole sentence while holding “the card” in the air. When he finished talking, he placed the card at the bottom. I cannot tell you what a difference it makes in the effect, such a seemingly small difference. Anyone watching would have a chance to see that card for a long time, which would not be a good thing. So it’s not just the patter, its the timing and the patter.
So when you are performing, keep that in mind. If you have a move you want to make that you are not anxious for them to see, look them in the eye and start talking to them. They will look at you, maybe just for a second, but a second is all you might need. I keep the conversation related to the trick, or it could be a joke relating to it. It’s misdirection and it works, every time. Patter can save your show, but that’s another story!